fa·​tal·​ism | \ ˈfā-tə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce fatalism (audio) \

Definition of fatalism

: a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them also : a belief in or attitude determined by this doctrine fatalism that regards social problems as simply inevitable

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Other Words from fatalism

fatalist \ ˈfā-​tə-​list How to pronounce fatalism (audio) \ noun
fatalistic \ ˌfā-​tə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce fatalism (audio) \ adjective
fatalistically \ ˌfā-​tə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fatalism (audio) \ adverb

Examples of fatalism in a Sentence

Many people seem to have developed a sense of fatalism about the war.
Recent Examples on the Web Officials are battling a sense of fatalism in the general public that nothing can be done about the pandemic or denial about the record hospitalizations and death toll. Los Angeles Times, "California hits new 1-day COVID-19 death record as hospitals plan for potential rationing," 30 Dec. 2020 Filmed in snowy Vancouver and set to some of the most melancholy songs Leonard Cohen ever recorded, the film lets a sense of fatalism hang over even its lightest moments. Keith Phipps, Vulture, "The 50 Greatest Western Movies of All Time," 18 Jan. 2021 The constant threat of a sudden, brutal death has left many Afghans with a sense of despair and fatalism. New York Times, "‘I Could Just Vanish’: In Kabul, Pocket Notes to Prevent Anonymous Death," 12 Jan. 2021 Health officials battling fatalism and denial Hospitals and health officials throughout the state are reporting severe problems. Los Angeles Times, "California hits new 1-day COVID-19 death record as hospitals plan for potential rationing," 30 Dec. 2020 Today’s fatalism about the brokenness of the internet feels similar. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine," 15 Dec. 2020 Ernst said this phase of the pandemic reminds her of the early days of the HIV crisis, when people lapsed into denial, fatalism or exhaustion instead of taking simple steps to protect themselves. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Coronavirus in Illinois updates: 11,891 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 127 additional deaths reported Saturday," 21 Nov. 2020 Some readers will no doubt find this final note of fatalism disappointing—a refusal of the responsibility to take a stronger political stance. Timothy Aubry, The New Republic, "Nicole Krauss’s Difficult Men," 17 Dec. 2020 Stanley Kubrick famously borrowed the concept for the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, the cinematic apotheosis of the fatalism that came with living on hair-trigger alert for nuclear annihilation. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine," 15 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fatalism

1678, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for fatalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of fatalism was in 1678

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Statistics for fatalism

Last Updated

8 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fatalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatalism. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for fatalism



English Language Learners Definition of fatalism

: the belief that what will happen has already been decided and cannot be changed

More from Merriam-Webster on fatalism

Nglish: Translation of fatalism for Spanish Speakers

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